Anthony Hodge is a 32 year old 178cm guard that is playing for German Regionalliga team Bergedorf this season. He began his basketball career at Hilbert (NCAA3). He began his professional career in the States playing for various PBL teams like the Buffalo 716ers , the Western NY Thundersnow (PBL)
and Chautauqua Hurricanes (PBL). He then found experience in Mexico and then headed overseas playing in Spain. Last season he got his first gig in Germany for Regionalliga 2 team VFL Loenigan. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.
Thanks Anthony for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
Hi thank you for having me. At the moment I am currently in Castrop Rauxel, Germany. The Basketball life is treating me very well. It’s given me many opportunities to see the world and experience different things.
Your 32 years old and are the best example of a guy living the basketball dream. You just keep grinding and don’t stop. What has kept you going in the last 10 years to keep going?
I can say what keeps me going is my determination and will power to push forward no matter what to achieve my goals and dreams in life. I grew up in Brooklyn New York and you have to be mentally tough to live there. And that has helped me through this journey. Because during this basketball journey you get a lot of No’s and unanswered messages but you can’t let that get to you. You have to believe in yourself and trust the grind. More importantly stay true to yourself because that one yes is everything.
You obviously are always hungry and are never satisfied. Could one say you have to be one of those guys that has a permanent chip on their shoulder?
Yes I’m always hungry and never satisfied because I want to keep improving. I have a dream and personal goal I want to reach and if I can see it in my head and feel it in my bones to the point it feels real. I know it’s possible with hard work. My mom always told me anything is possible with hard work and to always fight for what you want no matter what others say. All your work is now starting to pay off. It never gets easier for a player the older they get.
I can imagine thinking about never giving up and knowing one day it will pay off has driven you as well?
Yes that has driven me. Especially when you get good news or a little bit of hope. But I always had this feeling like something was telling me keep going don’t give up. I just really believed in myself and with God in my corner and a little bit of luck anything is possible I felt. I just kept my head down and grinded harder and harder. I knew something had to give and God will present me with an opportunity so I had to stay ready so I didn’t have to get ready.
After bouncing around in the States and being in Mexico and Spain, you made your way to Germany last season to play with 2 Regionalliga team VFL Loeningen. I can imagine Germany will always be a special place for you. What do you appreciate most about Germany?
I mean I haven’t really seen much of Germany yet. But I do appreciate how diverse it is and that most people speak and can understand English lol
You were a big part for VFL Loeningen remaining in the 2 Regionalliga as you helped the club to 11 wins and averaging 30,0ppg. Did it feel at times that you were a man playing among kids?
I didn’t think of it that way. I just lead by example and did my part to impact the game in every way possible and to do whatever it took to win games. I played team basketball and my team believed in me. I showed them I can impact and dominate a game in different ways. I wanted everyone to feel involved. This was why we were so successful. And we got better with each game.
Congrats on signing with Regionalliga team Bergedorf. You have moved up a level to the 4th league in Germany. How excited are you for a new challenge with the Hamburg team?
Thank you. I’m very excited and can’t wait to help this team achieve its goals. I welcome this challenge and I’m ready
How ironic is it to be from Hamburg New York to now living in the great German city Hamburg. Your going from a 55,000 city to a 1,8 million city. Is that very overwhelming for you?
I’m actually from New York City born and raised in Brooklyn New York, I went to college in Hamburg Buffalo. So I’m used to the big city. Lol so I would fit right in.
I think. You will see many new things in Hamburg, Germany, but what is one thing that you will always find in Hamburg, New York and not in Hamburg Germany?
Hmm that’s pretty hard to say since I’ve never been to Hamburg so I don’t know what they have. But I would say 24 hr gyms and grocery stores. But I heard many things about Hamburg so I’m excited to see what the city has.
I’m sure that you will do well in the Regionalliga. American guards usually do very well in the Regionalliga. With what expectations are you going into the season and what kind of Anthony Hodge can we await?
I’m going into this season with the expectation to help the team be successful and to make the playoffs and try to win the league. I want to get Player of the Year and leave my mark on this league. Y’all will see a player that has no quit in him and who will be the hardest worker on both ends of the floor and giving his all each every play and every game. I’m going to do whatever it takes to help my team win as many games as possible.
Last season you were within 15 minutes of watching Pro A games in Artland and Vechta. Did you take in some games and how do you feel could your game translate in the Pro A?
Sadly I did not get a chance to see any games live but I did watch some games online. And from watching I feel very confident my game will translate very well into Pro A I feel I can score with the best of them but most importantly I can play both ends of the floor at a high level and I can impact a game in different ways.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 178cm guard. If one had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill? Maybe a Nate Robinson?
Hmm some people would say Nate Robinson or Isaiah Thomas because of my scoring ability. But I’m a great defender especially for my height. So it’s kind of hard to say because I hear different names haha but those are the two names that always comes up.
You’re a guy that can score, but what other strengths does your game incorporate?
I would say defense, playmaking, doing the little things that don’t show up on the stat sheets and my IQ for the game and how I see certain things.
Talk a little about your defense. What kind of defender are you and could we see you winning the steal crown?
I’m a hard nose defender and can be very annoying for other guards I’ve been told. I definitely can see myself winning it with the help of my teammates for sure.
Your not 22 anymore but 32. On what areas are you working on now as your career is taking off in your 30’s?
I’ve been working on playing even smarter and being more patient. But I been working on everything to improve in all aspects of the game. I also make sure to take care of my body even though my body still feels 24 haha
You played at Hilbert College (NCAA3). Your senior year was a special one. What memories do you have of winning the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference’s regular season league title?
Man that year was for sure a special one. We were a family and had so much fun. But what made it so special for me was the game we won the regular season title, it was senior night and my mom and sisters came to see my play. It was the first time my mom ever saw me play. And to winning in front of her was the greatest feeling ever.
How did head coach Rob deGrandpre groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
He believed in me a lot and trusted me. He never gave me any special treatment and made sure I put 110% percent effort into the games and practices. He also told me I can do whatever I put my mind too as long as I put the work in and he made sure I was on top of my game. He even supported me in every way even after I graduated.
Who won a 1-1 in practice you or Dan Mcfarland?
Me for sure haha but He was a tough guy to guard though for sure.
In 2013 after graduation you embarked on a professional career. Very few NCAA 3 guys make it. How difficult was the process and how big of an issue was your height?
It was very difficult because all people saw was my height. But there was one guy who saw more than just my height. Without him there’s no Mexico so I’m beyond grateful for him.
You had experience in the semi pro league PBL playing at home with teams like the Buffalo 716ers, Western Thunderstorm and Chautauqua Hurricanes. What memories did you have of this time. How grueling was the competitiveness? Was it more bonding or guys just focused on getting to a higher league?
Oh yeah the competition was very tough because there were a lot of D1 players and D-league player in the league. So I learned a lot and had to hold my own. It was kill or be killed so you had to bring your A game every time even to practice because someone is always after your spot. Survival of the fittest and because of that I definitely became stronger mentally and physically as a player.
You must have had a day job. Talk a little about how you kept busy during the day and what kept your grind going at night in the lab?
Yes I worked during the day but I would hit the gym before work and after work. I made sure no matter what I put my work in.
You then got a job in Mexico. How refreshing was that and how vital was that for your self-confidence?
Man playing in Mexico was refreshing and definitely gave me confidence and hope. I knew I could do this. Because once I got to Mexico I didn’t look back I put all my hard work to the test and it did not let me down. I showed out and shined. Then one thing led to another and you meet someone who likes your game and boom anything can happen. You know how it is you; never know who’s watching or who someone may know.
You then made the step to Valencia, Spain. How did that come about and what kind of an experience was that for you?
So Spain came about because after Mexico I got invited to a summer league tournament in Italy where my team won the championship and I won best Point of the summer league award. And I had two players on my team that played in Spain and told me to connect a guy named Brad. Brad has an exposure camp in Spain and so I bet on myself and went and the rest was history.
Who was the toughest player that you ever battled on the court that reached the NBA?
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time
Kristofer Chase Justin Vice Tevor Stark Nelson Jimenez Corey Lewis
Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?
That’s very hard hahaha But I’ll say Michael Jordan LeBron James Magic Johnson Bill Russell Larry Bird For now but that may change every soon haha
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?
They are both great in my opinion but MJ has more of a killed instinct where LeBron is more of a team guy and pass first but it’s different era’s and two different players.
Did you see the sequel to the classic coming to America?
Shouldn’t they have left it alone? They should of left it alone but it wasn’t that bad though.
Thanks Anthony for the chat.